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Career Paths: Bert Blyleven

Career Paths
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Minnesota Twins 1970-1976
A 3rd round draft pick by the Twins in 1969, Blyleven made just 21 minor league starts before making his major league debut on June 2, 1970 at age 19. Born in the Netherlands, but raised in California, Blyleven went 10-9 with a 3.18 ERA as a rookie and improved from there. From 1971-75, he won 16, 17, 20, 17 and 15 games for the Twins. He led the league in shutouts in 1973 with 9 and made his first All Star appearance.

On June 1, 1976, the cash strapped Twins dealt Blyleven and Danny Thompson to Texas for Mike Cubbage, Jim Gideon, Bill Singer, Roy Smalley and $250,000.



Texas Rangers 1976-1977
After finishing out the 1976 season in Texas with a 9-11 record and 2.76 ERA, Blyleven went 14-12 with a 2.72 ERA and pitched a no-hitter on September 22 against California in 1977, his only full season as a Ranger. On December 8, he was sent to Pittsburgh in a 4-team, 11 player trade. Texas’s main compensation was 1B Al Oliver.



Pittsburgh Pirates 1978-1980
While Blyleven’s production dropped each year in Pittsburgh - he posted 14, 12 and 8 wins and ERAs of 3.03, 3.60 and 3.82 - he did help the “We are Family” Pirates win the 1979 World Series over Baltimore. The Dutchman started two games in the posteason, winning them both and giving up just 3 earned runs in 19 innings over three appearances.

Following the 1980 season however, the 29-year-old was unhappy in the Steel City and demanded a trade. The Pirates obliged, sending him and Manny Sangullien to Cleveland for Gary Alexander, Victor Cruz, Bob Owchinko and Rafael Vasquez.



Cleveland Indians 1981-1985
Blyleven posted a solid season for the Tribe during the strike-shortened 1981 season, going 11-7 with a 2.88 ERA. An elbow injury cost him most of the 1982 season and the problems lingered in to his subpar 1983 season. Finally healthy, the veteran returned to form in 1984, winning 19 games against 7 losses with a 2.87 ERA for the 75-87 Indians. He finished 3rd in the Cy Young balloting following the season. After making his second and final All Star appearance at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Blyleven was dealt back to the Twins on August 1, 1985 for Jay Bell, Curt Wardle, Jim Weaver and Rich Yett.



Minnesota Twins 1985-1988
Blyleven finished the 1985 season strong, winning 8 games for the Twins and 17 overall. A workhorse, he led the AL in starts (37), complete games (24), innings pitched (293 2/3), shutouts (5) and strikeouts (206) that season. Following a strong 1986 campaign (17-14, 4.01 ERA), Blyleven was a key contributor to the Twins World Series championship in 1987 winning 15 games and posting a 4.01 ERA. He went 3-1 in four post season starts. After slumping to a 10-17 mark and a 5.43 ERA in 1988, Blyleven was traded to California on November 3 with Kevin Trudeau for Rob Wassenaar and Paul Sorrento.



California Angels 1989-1992
At 38, Blyleven had one of his best season in 1989, going 17-5 with a 2.73 ERA - his lowest since 1977. Arm problems hampered him in 1990 and rotator cuff surgery cost him the entire 1991 campaign. Blyleven returned in 1992, but struggled (8-12 4.74 ERA). After unsuccessfully trying out for the Twins in spring training 1993, Blyleven retired. He finished his career with a 287-250 record, 3.31 ERA and 3,701 strikeouts. After 13 tries, Blyleven was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2011.


Bert Blyleven @ Wikipedia

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